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Yes or no?

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Countertenors - yes. I love Andreas Scholl, and I like Michael Chance too. He is a patron of Norwich Baroque and we've seen him quite often. I remember he was singing a very profound piece in German about death once, in Norwich Cathedral. I don't understand German but I didn't want to look at the programme translation because we were on or near the front row & it seemed rude. But I didn't have to - he put so much expression into his singing that I could follow the emotions really well.

However, I don't say that I like countertenors better than tenors - I do tend to prefer the sound of an 'ordinary' male voice.
 

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Countertenors - yes. I love Andreas Scholl, and I like Michael Chance too. He is a patron of Norwich Baroque and we've seen him quite often. I remember he was singing a very profound piece in German about death once, in Norwich Cathedral. I don't understand German but I didn't want to look at the programme translation because we were on or near the front row & it seemed rude. But I didn't have to - he put so much expression into his singing that I could follow the emotions really well.

However, I don't say that I like countertenors better than tenors - I do tend to prefer the sound of an 'ordinary' male voice.
Have you heard Iestyn Davies? He is phenominal. I have seen him in oratorio, recital and fully staged opera and there is nothing 'phoney', 'small' or 'lacking in resonance', in fact he had the biggest voice of all the singers when he sang in Rodelinda at ENO.

I find it interesting that you compare countertenors with tenors as normally the casting decision is usually countertenor or mezzo? (I'm thinking chiefly of Handel operas). Since I prefer a mezzo where there is a choice between the two I voted 'NO'. However, there have been some roles specifically written for countertenor (Oberon (Britten's Dream)/Apollo (Death in Venice)) and you wouldn't want anything other than a countertenor then.

N.
 

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Countertenors - yes. I love Andreas Scholl, and I like Michael Chance too. He is a patron of Norwich Baroque and we've seen him quite often. I remember he was singing a very profound piece in German about death once, in Norwich Cathedral. I don't understand German but I didn't want to look at the programme translation because we were on or near the front row & it seemed rude. But I didn't have to - he put so much expression into his singing that I could follow the emotions really well.
Was it this piece by any chance?


Andreas Scholl's singing is wonderful here.
 

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Those who get creeped out by countertenors, obviously didn't listen long enough to get beyond the initial thought of "a male! sings so high! wohoo, creepy..."

It really gets less and less creepy as you listen to the actual music and forget the notions of supposed weirdness it involves. Same way as most listeners who weren't exposed to classical music from early age have to get used to operatic singing, finding it awkward, initially.

How could you say "no" to this kind of vocal excellence:

 

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Have you heard Iestyn Davies? He is phenominal. I have seen him in oratorio, recital and fully staged opera and there is nothing 'phoney', 'small' or 'lacking in resonance', in fact he had the biggest voice of all the singers when he sang in Rodelinda at ENO.

I find it interesting that you compare countertenors with tenors as normally the casting decision is usually countertenor or mezzo? (I'm thinking chiefly of Handel operas). Since I prefer a mezzo where there is a choice between the two I voted 'NO'. However, there have been some roles specifically written for countertenor (Oberon (Britten's Dream)/Apollo (Death in Venice)) and you wouldn't want anything other than a countertenor then.

N.
I haven't heard Iestyn Davies, but I shall try to. Thanks! :tiphat:

As for mentioning tenors, I was only saying that I prefer the sound of masculine voices in the usual style - I was not specifically talking about countertenor roles. I enjoy mezzo voices too - in fact, they are my favourite.

And as I explained, I do like countertenors, so I voted 'yes'.

Here is one of my favourite renditions featuring Andreas Scholl - he sings with the soprano Barbara Schlick.

Handel, 'And he shall feed his flock':
 

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There is enough vocal excellence out there that I don't need to get it from countertenors.

However, I do listen to some countertenor whenever I listen to Handel's Chandos Anthems as I don't believe there is a recording available without countertenors and it is too good of a work to pass up.
 
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Was it this piece by any chance?
(Bist Du bei mir)

Andreas Scholl's singing is wonderful here.
No, it wasn't - but who cares, I've just listened & it's beautiful - thanks so much, Siegendeslicht! :tiphat:

I've looked at my old programme at the concert that featured Michael Chance, and it was Vergnügte Ruh, beliebte Seelenlust, BWV 170 by J. S. Bach - a mixture of recitative and aria.

Here it is - this time it's Andreas Scholl again!
 

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I like some countertenors, including the above-mentioned Scholl and Chance, but I do sometimes wish that HIP ensembles didn't use them all the time. Female alto voices are just more beautiful to me, and I would like an HIP recording of Bach's Passions or B Minor Mass with a woman singing those beautiful alto arias, but as far as I know it doesn't exist.
 

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It makes me feel rather queasy—not in a good way. I am listening to the Handel sample Aramis posted. The singer sounds almost indistinguishable from a woman. All things considered—composer's intentions, historical accuracy, novelty, whatever—I guess I'm not opposed. Should a man with a high voice be banned from public singing? :lol:
 
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